Lipid pneumonia has been observed in infants exposed by inhalation of oil or butter applied into the nose or throat as part of an old custom. We performed a case-control study to test the hypothesis, that this ancient tradition may be a predisposing factor to bronchiectasis. A case group of 59 patients with bronchiectasis and three control groups -46 patients with COPD, 32 asthmatics, and 71 healthy Saudis-were questioned about possible risk factors of bronchiectasis including nasal or oral application of oil/butter at infancy. The risk of witnessed exposure to this old folk remedy was significantly higher among the cases than the controls (OR = 3.9 (1.7-8.8), (95% confidence interval) p < 0.001). Application of oil or butter into the nasal or oral cavity of infants may be a risk factor for bronchiectasis.